Back in 2013 I read an article in Retail Minded magazine titled The Road to Simplified Social Media Marketing by Ron Cates. This article is not longer published on the Retail Minded website. I did some searching and, unfortunately, could not find the original article. Neither the Retail Minded website or the Ron Cates website yielded any results. Regardless, I believe that the points that were shared in the original article still hold true.
The original article briefly discusses the significance of social media as a tool to drive your business. The article then goes to list five (5) common roadblocks to social media marketing along with solutions for overcoming those roadblocks. The roadblocks are:
- I don’t have enough time.
- I’m not a writer.
- There are too many trends in social media.
- Social media marketing looks interesting, but I will never have a million customers.
- This is all so new, different, and scary! I’ll just market the same way I always have.
All of the above are certainly roadblocks to having a successful social media marketing plan. Either individually or en mass, these five items can impact your ability to implement, manage, and sustain a successful social media marketing campaign.
Let’s take a look at these purported roadblocks.
1. I don’t have enough time
Time is certainly an issue when it comes to managing a social media marketing plan. It was an issue back in 2013 when the original article was written and it is event more an issue today.
In his article, Cates’ mentioned his solution for roadblock number one. He states, “It only takes about eight seconds to write a sentence.”
His “solution” struck me off-chord.
While this may be true, writing a sentence in eight seconds, it takes much longer to formulate the “right” sentence; a sentence that will engage your audience and carry you business forward.
To emphasize this point, just think of the damage that could be caused by an inappropriate tweet or a Facebook status update that unknowingly offends your fan base or misrepresents your business. You can not only lose followers or lose Likes, you can also lose the trust of your customers.
Managing social media takes time. With social media management, there are a multitude of responsibilities. Accessing and managing your account, creating rich content like stunning graphics, photographs, and videos, responding to comments, developing and creating social ads, and the list goes on and on.
Ok, that is one social media account. Now multiply that by 10. You have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and more.
Each social media channel is unique. Each channel takes time to manage.
Eight seconds can easily turn into hours.
The trick is to select the social media channels that are best for your business. Don’t try to do it all. You want to focus on Facebook? Then focus on Facebook. You like Instagram? Well then, start taking photographs. Pick the channel, or channels, which work for you and your business.
2. I’m not a writer
Absolutely! Not everyone is William Shakespeare or John Steinbeck. You don’t need to be a professional writer to manage your social media marketing activities. You are not writing hundreds and hundreds of pages of copy.
Am I right?
Social media is not the place to be writing hundreds, if not thousands, of words. For that many letters and words, blogging would be more appropriate.
But, for social media, perhaps less is better. You need to be short, concise, compelling, interesting, engaging. You need to get your message across to people in only a few words or a few sentences. You need to be able to engage a potential customer and be able to persuade them that your goods and services are of interest to them.
This means that you need to know your business and know your customers. As a business owner, and hopefully a successful business owner, you have all the information you need to to craft engaging social media posts.
3. There are too many trends in social media.
Yes, there are. And it is important to know that you don’t have to follow or use every trend to be successful in social media.
What you need to do is understand what the trends are and pick the one or two that work best for you and your business.
For example, creating videos are a huge trend. Does that work for your copy writing business or your website design business? I personally don’t think that videos of people spell-checking or watching a website designer code html is all that interesting. Who would really really watch something like that?
Ultimately, you need to pick the trend or style that works best for you and that works best for your business.
Create a social media marketing plan that works for you. If that plan includes taking photographs and posting to Instagram on a daily basis, then that is the plan. And, if that is the plan, be sure that you educate yourself and understand everything there is about Instagram. Know how to post images, understand hashtags, determine if regular posts or stories work better for engaging your customers. Understand the platform and how best to utilize that platform to connect with people.
4. Social media marketing looks interesting, but I will never have a million customers.
Is it really that important for your business to have a million customers? Is your business successful with fewer customers? What if you were able to bring in ten more customers? How would your business change?
For me, at this point in time, today, I am not looking to have a million more customers. Having a million more customers in a short period of time would rock my world. I am not ready for that, and, I may not be interested in that.
Some business models are based upon growing your customer base. Business and revenue growth may be based upon a subscription model where the goal is to have a million customers paying a subscription fee every month.
If you are a sandwich shop in serving your local community, you may not want a million customers every day. Your goals may be a bit more modest. Perhaps growing your business 10% to 20% each year for the next two years is the goal that you have in mind.
After that, maybe it is opening a new business location across town or in a neighboring town.
Who knows. Perhaps the next step would be franchising your business.
As the business owner, you get to choose how your business grows; today, tomorrow, next week, next year. Social media can be a part of your business growth plans.
5. This is all so new, different, and scary! I’ll just market the same way I always have.
Change is scary.
Change is disruptive.
However, change is inevitable. You can’t continue doing the same thing the same old way. Your competitors will overtake you and your business will slowly wither on the vine.
Businesses are competing on a variety of fronts. If you disregard social media, you are leaving the door open for your competitors to swoop in and capture the attention of your customers. And your customers will gladly walk out that door.
What makes understanding social media even more difficult, is that is changes almost on a daily basis. New features are added. Existing features are removed. They keep moving the target on you.
How can anybody keep pace with all the changes?
Going back to item number one, social media can commandeer your time. Allocate the time you need to manage your social media resources.
Just be sure to allocate the right amount of time. Managing your social medial resources can take up valuable time. You need to focus on your business success. If that means an hour a week on social media or an hour a day, you need to make that call.
Doing things the same old way is not a choice either. People are changing and the way they consume information. People spend a tremendous amount of time accessing social media and interacting with brands on the various social platforms.
As a business owner, you need to evaluate the trends and see which social media platform should be integrated into your existing marketing program.
If you like sending mailers to everyone in a specific ZIP Code, or if you like advertising in magazines or newspapers, or you like radio advertising, you can certainly continue using those mediums for you marketing activities.
That is fine. You just need to understand how people consume information and how best to connect with them.
Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media
Now, don’t be afraid of social media and abandon it for the traditional methods of attracting customers to your business. Social media is an essential essential component of your on-line marketing program. It helps you build and relationships that extend beyond the walls of your business.
Be thoughtful when creating your social medial post and updates. Think about what you wish to accomplish when you create a Tweet in 142 characters or less. Will your Facebook post be more effective as straight text, should I include a photo, or a link to my website? Will that YouTube video be funny or will it offend my customers?
It may only take eight second to to type a sentence, but is eight second really enough time to spend when communicating and building trust with your customers?
Be sure you are making time for social media when using these tools to engage your customers.